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Celebrity news for the week of February 16, 2007

Brief updates on births, divorces, court dates, and more

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BIRTHS
Dr. McDreamy Patrick Dempsey, 41, and his cosmetics-entrepreneur wife Jillian, 40, welcomed fraternal twin boys on Feb. 1.

EXPECTING
Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills, 90210), 37, and his wife, makeup artist Naomi Lowde, 28, will greet their first baby this summer.

SPLITS
Jackass‘ Johnny Knoxville, 35, and his wife of 11 years, Melanie Clapp, separated on Feb. 1.

HIRED
Jermaine Dupri, 34, is the new president of urban music at Island Records. The producer, who’s worked with Mariah Carey and his girlfriend Janet Jackson, held the same title at Virgin Records until he stepped down in October 2006.

RECOVERING
Farrah Fawcett, 60, is cancer-free, as of Feb. 2. ”I never lost hope,” said the actress, ”and it never occurred to me to stop fighting.”

REUNITING
The members of Van Halen announced on Feb. 2 that they’ll team up with original vocalist David Lee Roth for a 40-date summer tour — their first jaunt together since 1984. Diamond Dave & Co. will also get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 12, where they’ll be joined by still-estranged singer Sammy Hagar.

CONTROVERSY
A month after being ordered by Fox to remove episodes of 24 and The Simpsons, YouTube has angered another conglomerate: Viacom (parent company to MTV and Comedy Central), which demanded on Feb. 2 that more than 100,000 clips from its shows be removed from the site. The ‘Tube folks complied after noting that Viacom will no longer benefit from their ”passionate audience.”

COURTS
On Feb. 5, Apple Inc. settled a 25-year-long dispute with The Beatles’ publishing company, Apple Corps Ltd. The new deal gives Apple Inc. ownership of all ”Apple” trademarks, while agreeing to license the moniker to Apple Corps. Says a rep at Apple Inc.: ”Hopefully, this will pave the way to offer Beatles [songs] on iTunes.”…. Turner Broadcasting System (which is owned by EW’s parent company, Time Warner) has agreed to pay $2 million to state and local agencies after a guerrilla ad campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force caused multiple bomb scares in Boston on Jan. 31. Police responded to reports of blinking electronic signs — featuring the Aqua character Mooninite — that were placed on bridge overpasses and in subway stations…. On Jan. 31, investigators recommended that former Prison Break star Lane Garrison, 26, be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and contributing to the delinquency of minors. Garrison was behind the wheel of a car that crashed on Dec. 2 in L.A., killing one teen and injuring two others. Police allege that Garrison’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit and that he was under the influence of cocaine. Says Garrison’s lawyer: ”I was shocked that police would have a press conference revealing details before the DA had a chance to review the case.”… Ryan O’Neal (Love Story), 65, was arrested Feb. 3 in Malibu after allegedly assaulting his son, actor Griffin O’Neal, 42, with a gun. The younger O’Neal was not hurt, and his dad is free on a $50,000 bond. ”Everything Ryan did came from a completely defensive posture,” says his manager. ”He fired the gun into a banister.”

DEATHS
Actor Tige Andrews (The Mod Squad), 86, of cardiac arrest, Jan. 27, in Encino, Calif…. Blues and folk musician Eric von Schmidt, 75, who influenced Bob Dylan, of natural causes, Feb. 2, in Fairfield, Conn…. Billy Henderson, 67, cofounder of the R&B band the Spinners, of complications from diabetes, Feb. 2, in Daytona Beach, Fla…. Veteran TV actor Lee Bergere (Star Trek), 88, of natural causes, Jan. 31, in Fremont, N.H…. Motown artist Joe Hunter, 79, a multiple Grammy winner with the Funk Brothers, of natural causes, Feb. 2, in Detroit…. Ground-breaking black singer-actress Barbara McNair, 72, who hosted her own variety program in the early ’70s, of an inoperable tumor, Feb. 4, in Sherman Oaks, Calif.


LEGACY
Frankie Laine 1913-2007
The booming Italian crooner known as Mr. Rhythm, Laine died Feb. 6 of heart failure in San Diego. Aside from belting out the theme songs to Rawhide and Blazing Saddles, he earned 21 gold records for hits like 1947’s ”That’s My Desire” and 1949’s ”That Lucky Old Sun.” ”He had a style that was full of energy and punch,” says Jimmy Marino, his producer of more than 12 years. ”You only had to hear a few notes and you knew it was him.” — Tim Stack

Molly Ivins 1944-2007
Humorist and political columnist Ivins died Jan. 31 in Austin after a battle with breast cancer. Her sharp Texas wit knew no boundaries: She branded President Bill Clinton ”weaker than bus-station chili,” and called President George W. Bush ”neither mean nor stupid” but shaped by ”anti-intellectualism and machismo.” Bush, a high school acquaintance of Ivins’, was one of her favorite targets and the subject of her best-selling books Shrub (2000) and Bushwhacked (2003). ”Molly was able to criticize in a humane way,” says University of Texas’ Rusty Todd, who knew Ivins for more than 35 years. ”She’d write some awful thing about a state legislator, and the next day [they’d be] having a beer.” — Vanessa Juarez

A Prince Among Men
After a sad streak of classic-rock geezers and wacky mash-ups (hello, Aerosmith and Britney!), Prince brought some sorely missing sexy back to the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 4, even as he was drenched by a near monsoon. The buzz — and news that he had covered the Foo Fighters’ hit ”Best of You” — prompted lead singer Dave Grohl to seek out the show on YouTube the next day. ”Having been a massive Prince fan my whole life, I was flattered beyond words,” says Grohl. ”What an honor to be covered by one of your heroes!”

So how did his hero’s show go off without a hitch in that storm? Credit goes to some dangerous off-camera work: After an electric cable was accidentally severed moments before the show, a stagehand channeled a scene from Back to the Future by manually inserting the exposed copper wires into an outlet — and holding them in place for nearly 12 minutes. It’s a wonder he wasn’t injured, which is why exec producer Don Mischer says, ”I should give him a medal.” No need to bestow a prize on the Purple One, though. ”Prince has enough hits to be able to kill everywhere he goes,” says Sony BMG exec Kawan ”KP” Prather. ”He could do that in an airport.” — Lynette Rice, with additional reporting by Shirley Halperin and Margeaux Watson

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